Dallas police upgraded charges against the former bartender who was arrested for assaulting a Black woman in a parking lot.
30-year-old Austin Shuffield was initially charged with Class A misdemeanors of public intoxication, interference with an emergency call and assault. However, after an investigation, police added felony charges of aggravated assault charges with a deadly weapon and unlawful carrying of a weapon against Shuffield, reported CBS 11.
“An additional warrant was issued for the charge of unlawfully carrying, which Shuffield can turn himself in for,” Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall told the local news station.
When the department was asked why it took so long for felony charges to be added, Chief Hall responded, “The media and the community needs to understand this is a three-step process — initial arrest, investigation by our unit, then taking those facts and turning them over to the DA. We don’t get to skip those steps just because someone wants us to.”
During the attack on 24-year-old L’Daijohnique Lee, Shuffield was recorded carrying a weapon. Witnesses watched in horror as Shuffield punched the woman and slapped her cellphone out of her hand when she tried to call 911.
Lee says she went to the hospital for treatment of a ruptured eardrum after the incident.
The attack occurred when Lee pulled into a parking lot and blocked Shuffield as he was trying to leave. He then got out of his car with a gun and approached Lee to tell her to move. The confrontation escalated to violence when Shuffield smacked the cellphone out of Lee’s hand and she retaliated with a punch.
Shuffield then hit Lee multiple times in the face and upper body until she stumbled to the ground.
Braxton Martin, owner of the High and Tight Barbershop and Speakeasy, where Shuffield worked, said he was fired.
The upgraded charges against Shuffield were sent to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for presentation to a grand jury.
(Photo: CBS Dallas-Fort Worth)